Vegan Scones

… with not so vegan clotted cream and homemade mulled wine jelly.

I always loved scones. In fact, scones were the first thing I ate when I moved to this country. And I’d never say no to a high tea if scones, clotted cream and jam are involved. I pretty much would look forward to it the entire week.

Anyway, shortly before Christmas, my auntie asked me to prepare a recipe for our night in with my grandma. So I tried a few different ones and was never completely satisfied because they wouldn’t turn out as good as I hoped they would.

So I started to change ingredients and cooking times and also tried a vegan version. Turns out, the vegan version was by far the best so I’d like to share it with you:

vegan scones

Vegan Scones
makes 9

  • 350g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g vegan “butter”, room temperature
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 175ml unsweetened almond milk
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 220°C (440°F).

Combine the flour with the salt and baking powder and add the vegan butter in cubes. Rub it in with your fingers until the mixture looks really crumbly (takes around 5 minutes).
Add the sugar.

Warm the almond milk until tepid (I microwaved it for 30 seconds), stir in the vanilla essence and the lemon juice. Set aside.

Now, put your baking sheet in the oven. This is to prevent the scones from getting a soggy, underbaked bottom.

Shape a well in the flour mix and add the milk. Combine the dough with a cutlery knife by cutting through it until everything is nicely combined.

Tip the dough onto a non stick surface (you might want to put some flour onto the surface before) and fold it over 3-4 times with your hands, gently kneading. Pat into a square that is about 4cm deep.
Using either a glass or a 5cm cutter, cut out 9 scones. Don’t worry, you’ll have to re-shape the dough a couple of times in order to get 9 scones, I shaped the last scone with my hands, not using the cutter because there wasn’t enough dough left.
Brush the tops of your vegan scones with some water and put them onto the hot baking tray in the oven.

Bake for 10-20 minutes until risen and slightly golden on top (they won’t become entirely golden because we didn’t brush them with any egg since these are vegan scones).

vegan scones with clotted cream

And, voilà – Vegan Scones. Freshly baked and heavenly with a bit of (vegan?) clotted cream and some homemade mulled wine jelly (recipe coming!).

Enjoy, Becca x

Oozy Woozy Vegan Cinnamon Swirls

Wohoo! They ooze, they’re very cinnamon-y AND they’re vegan! 

Vegan bakery is a beautiful thing. You can make all these really tasty things without having to use any animal-based ingredients. Of course, there’s always this strange stage of adjusting where everything you bake just taste likes… nothing really.

But then you get the hang of it eventually and -voilà!- suddenly, your cinnamon rolls actually taste like cinnamon rolls and your vegan cake suddenly turns out really tasty and so on. Win!

So you don’t have to try and error, I tested this recipe for you, tweaked it a bit here and there, so you can simply start baking.

Note: This recipe might take a bit longer, it took me (including all the proving and baking and whatnot) just over 3 hours. Just so you know. :)

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Detail

Vegan Cinnamon Swirls
makes 15-20

  • 125ml almond milk, unsweetened
  • 250g flour
  • 1 pouch dried yeast
  • 110g brown sugar
  • some grated lemon peel
  • some salt
  • 110g vegan butter
  • cinnamon

Heat the almond milk until it’s just about lukewarm.
Put the flour into a bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top and add one spoonful of sugar. Now, add the lukewarm almond milk and combine the milk with a little bit of flour so that all the yeast is covered.
Cover the bowl and let it prove for 5 minutes.

Add 40g sugar, 40g vegan butter, salt and the lemon peel and combine everything thoroughly (it should take about 5mins). Cover the bowl again and let the dough prove for another 30mins.

Now, spread the dough onto a floured surface (or between cling film -less messy!) and roll it into the shape of a rectangle. It should cover 30*50cm.
Sprinkle the rest of the vegan butter on one half of the dough, fold the other half above it and close all edges tightly (you don’t want butter oozing out just yet!).
Now, roll the dough into the same shape, again roughly 30*50cm. Fold it into thirds (that’s left side to the middle, right side over it). Put it in the fridge for 15mins.

After getting the dough out of the fridge, roll it out to 20*40cm roughly, brush some water on top and sprinkle the remaining sugar with some cinnamon evenly on top. Starting at the 40cm side, roll the dough into one long log.
Cut the log into 4cm wide swirls and place them face down on a baking sheet.
Cover the baking sheet with a damp cloth and let it prove for another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and and bake your vegan cinnamon rolls for 15 minutes until they’re golden brown on top.

Vegan Cinnamon RollsEnjoy,

Becca x

PS: Thanks to La Veganista for the German inspiration.

Porridge with Marinated Raspberries

It only takes 4 minutes and is healthy. No more excuses for not having breakfast!

Breakfast is probably the best time of the day. And I’m not saying that because I love getting up early (I totally don’t.) or because I think cereals are the best thing ever (clearly, chocolate is so much better). I say that because having a great breakfast is the best foundation to a great day.

And while that sounds really cheesy, it is true. Not only because like, almost all scientist say so but also because you can actually test it yourself: Have a really sugary breakfast with chocolate croissants and a hot chocolate with whipped cream on one day. And the next day, try some healthy porridge without sugar and add some fruits and have maybe a green tea or some coffee with it. Which day will be better?

It’s a bit of a no-brainer, really. Porridge for the win! This recipe combines porridge, fruits and vanilla so it’s sweet, creamy and tangy. Perfect for those cold Monday mornings.

porridge with marinated raspberries

Porridge with Marinated Raspberries
serves 1

  • 50g porridge oats (unsweetened)
  • 300ml milk (I used vegan milk)
  • 175g raspberries
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup*
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste**

Combine the porridge oats and the milk and microwave it in a bowl for 3 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the raspberries and combine them with the agave syrup and vanilla bean paste. You don’t want to stir too much, just gently cover all raspberries in the mixture.
Once the porridge is out of the microwave, stir it and top it with the marinated raspberries.
I also sprinkled some vegan dark chocolate on top but that’s optional of course :)

That’s it! Super healthy breakfast in under 5 minutes, hooray!

porridge and marinated raspberries

*You can buy agave syrup in any bigger Sainsbury’s for around 3 pounds, or just check your local health store, they usually have it as well.

**I always use vanilla bean paste because it’s so much nicer than all the concentrated vanilla essence and the taste is so much better! Plus, it doesn’t have any E numbers or any other preservatives added and you can still see that it was made of vanilla pods. It is a bit more expensive (around 6 pounds) but I bought a small bottle 3 month ago and it’s not even half empty yet. And I bake A LOT.

Enjoy, Becca x

German Butterkuchen

Quick and easy and super delicious. Also very German, what’s not to love?

The German Butterkuchen was actually made by my boyfriend. Lucky me! Back in the summery days, when I used to live on a boat on the Thames, I went to work one day and sat there with my German colleagues and we got talking. Talking about being German and about all the things we miss. This conversation happens roughly every month and usually ends in someone asking some relatives back in Germany to send some typical German sweets over.

Deutscher Butterkuchen

Probably the most German cake of all cakes. Probably…

So, we were talking and lots of stuff came up. Like, great beer of course. Proper bread. Ahoi Brause. Halloren Kugeln. Pretzels. And Butterkuchen. Butterkuchen is pretty great actually. It’s super easy to make and you have it to almost every get-together in Germany. Birthday? Butterkuchen. Wedding? Butterkuchen. And a wedding cake probably, since Butterkuchen is not the most glamourous of all cakes.

It consists of lots of butter (you don’t say…), sugar and more sugar on top. Bit of flour and yeast and you’re done. And the best thing is: You don’t even need a fancy cake tin. Just use your baking tray and some baking paper. Easy-peasy.

German Buttercake

German Butterkuchen
serves a bunch of people

  • 400g flour
  • 1 sachet yeast
  • 100ml milk
  • 300g butter
  • 75g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g almond flakes
  • 200g icing sugar
  • lemon juice

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Heat the milk in a microwave (shouldn’t be too hot!) and dissolve half of the butter in it. Add the milk mixture to the flour. Whisk is so that you get a nice smooth dough. Gradually add the eggs one by one, whisking thoroughly after every egg.
Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size.

After that (it can take up to an hour), put the dough onto a greased baking tray and let it prove for another 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cover your fingertips in flour and punch little holes in the dough. But flakes of the rest of the butter in each hole. Sprinkle the almonds on top.
Bake the cake for around 15-20 minutes.

Combine the icing sugar with some lemon juice and pour the mixture over the still warm (but not hot) cake. I usually use a fork to pinch some holes in the cake so that the icing can seep into the cake.
Let the cake cool completely and cut it into squares.

That’s it! It does take a little bit of time but a German Butterkuchen is definitely not difficult and a great way to prepare something for more than 3 people.

Enjoy, Becca x

“Beer” Mug Cake (Guest Post)

It’s guest post time! Today: A philosopher/computer scientist/PhD from a very small island in Germany, currently living in Manchester, shares his mug cake recipe:

I once went to a pretty cool party in a pretty high tower at the university of Hamburg. It was Paddy’s birthday party and I knew back then, that he would once come up with the best cake ever. Or at least the best looking cake ever.

Combining his love of food, beer and well… philosophy? computers? science? Paddy created this mug cake that looks like a beer. Or not, more on that further down:

Beer mug cake

Is it a beer? Is it a cake? It’s a beer mug cake!

“Beer” Mug Cake
makes 1 mug cake

  • Sugar
  • Self-raising flour
  • cocoa-powder
  • a banana
  • oil
  • water
  • cinnamon
  • a bit of nutmeg

Paddy says: “I don’t know the actual amounts, just mix it until it has a proper consistency and colour and taste. The dough for the “beer cake” was just a bit more than half the mug. 3 minutes in the microwave”

As you can see, this is a pretty straight forward no-nonsense recipe and I love the fact that he uses nutmeg! Great choice :)

He also has a variation (I’m starting to wonder how many of these mug cakes he eats per day…). Simply add the following:

  • everything of the above
  • white chocolate
  • nuts

3 minutes in the microwave and done.

If you use self-raising flour and fill in too much of the dough in your mug be warned or your “beer” mug cake might end up looking like this:

Beer Mug Cake gone wrong

Oh no…. That beer mug cake had an accident.

A great recipe for my mug cake collection, thanks Paddy!

Enjoy, Becca x.

Marzipan Cherry Biscuits

These are thin, chewy and perfect for your afternoon coffee!

Marzipan is probably the best thing about winter (right after cinnamon of course) and I was longing for some not too heavy afternoon biscuits. I couldn’t find a suitable recipe online so I tried a bit and after 3 attempts, I ended up with these cookies.

They’re thin but not see-trough, chewy but not overwhelmingly sweet and every now and then you’ll get a hint of cherry which is a nice sour contrast to the caramelised marzipan in the biscuits.

Marzipan Cherry Biscuits Recipe

The recipe is really easy and you can buy all of the ingredients in any normal supermarket (I checked with the tiny Tesco at my local gas station, even they had everything!) so there really is no excuse not to get baking tomorrow after work! Unless you don’t like marzipan. Or cherries. Or cinnamon. Or biscuits. That would be an acceptable excuse. :)

Detail of Marzipan Cherry Biscuits

Marzipan Cherry Biscuits
makes 50

  • 300g flour
  • 250g butter, softened (I used vegan butter)
  • 140g golden caster sugar (or normal sugar)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 75g dried cherries
  • 300g marzipan
  • cinnamon
  • cocoa powder

First, whisk together the butter and sugar until slightly frothy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla bean paste and whisk until combined.
Gradually add the flour and mix until you get a nice dough.
If the dough is solid enough (if it’s not, put it in the fridge for around 15 minutes), roll it out into a rectangular shape. Do the same with the marzipan and cover the dough with the flat marzipan sheet.
Sprinkle cinnamon and cocoa powder over the entire dough/marzipan and distribute it evenly. Carefully press the cherries on top of the dough.

Now, roll the dough from the longer side so that you end up with a nice and tight roll. The marzipan should be on the inside.
Cover the roll in cling film and put it into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Heat your oven to 180°C (360°F) and cut the roll into 0.5cm thin disks. A clean knife helps!
Put the marzipan biscuits on a re-usable baking paper (this is important! I tried it with other baking papers and the caramelised marzipan made the entire biscuit stick to the paper so that I ended up with a mess) and bake the marzipan cherry biscuits for around 10-12 minutes.

Once they’re slightly cooled, peel them off the baking paper and let them cool completely before you put them in a tin.

Marzipan Cherry Biscuits

That’s it! It shouldn’t take you longer than an hour for all the marzipan biscuits to be ready so sit back and relax with your afternoon coffee. :)

Enjoy, Becca x

Easy Brioche

This French sweet bread is super easy if you prepare the dough the night before.

I always loved the idea of waking up to freshly baked bread in the mornings. Back in the days, when I had a bread baking machine (horrible! Bad idea, unless you like your bread with some kind of weird whole right through the middle. It smelled nice though.) I would always prepare everything on Sunday evening, put the timer of the machine on 4am and on Monday mornings, I would wake up to the smell of fresh bread. There are worse ways to start the week…

But I don’t have a bread machine any more and I’m quite happy about that. Bread that you made with your own hands and fingers and sweat and tears and whatever (sorry for the imagery) tastes so much better! Also, it has a better shape and doesn’t come with a whole in the middle. Unless you’re making Bagels of course.

So, on to the brioche. I love brioche. It’s soft and slightly sweet and it goes perfectly with Nutella or berry jam. Yum! I always thought it would be really hard to bake but actually, it’s fairly easy. You just have to remember that baking bread needs a little bit of extra time because it has to prove and rise.

brioche easy recipe

Easy Brioche
makes 1 brioche

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 50g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar because I didn’t have any white one)
  • 4 eggs
  • 170g unsalted butter (I used vegan spread)
  • 2 sachets dried yeast (14g)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice for the glazing
  • 50g icing sugar for the glazing

Put the flour, salt, sugar, eggs and the softened butter into a big bowl. Dissolve the yeast in 1tsp of tepid water. Pour the dissolved yeast into the bowl, but don’t let it touch the salt yet. Salt destroys the structure of the yeast and will prevent your dough from rising properly.
Now mix the dough and leave it in the bowl. Cover it and leave it to prove overnight (or for roughly 6 hours).

The next day, your dough will be slightly runny and not very nice looking. Don’t worry. It’s normal. Roll the dough on a floured surface and fold in the flour. Repeat this once. Shape a loaf and put it in a buttered bread tin.

Leave to rise for around 30mins (until the top of the dough reaches the top of the tin).
Preheat the oven to 150°C and bake the brioche for around 20-25 minutes.

For the glaze, mix the lemon juice with the icing sugar and brush it on the surface of the brioche. I pierced the surface a few times so that the glaze would seep inside. Highly recommended! :)

The brioche is best when completely cooled. I found it even tastier the next day, but I doubt that you can wait that long!

Enjoy, Becca x

Macaroons Class at L’Atelier des Chefs

My first ever “cooking” class. I actually learned something!

Since my first attempt at macaroons, roughly 5 years ago, I never went near those delicious little devils again. As you might imagine, it went horribly wrong and I ended up with something less appetizing than stale old bread. Eurgh. It might be because I used a very easy German recipe back then and nobody ever thought me anything about macaroons. Like, ever.

So when my workmates got me a voucher from L’Atelier des Chefs for my birthday this year, I was SUPER excited. I always wanted to go to one of those fancy classes and stand in a room listening to a chef sharing his secrets and becoming a star baker (Great British Bake Off pun very much intended!). Approximately 10 minutes after my colleagues handed me the voucher, I was completely absorbed by the massive selection of classes L’Atelier des Chefs has to offer. I quickly booked my first class: Mastering Macaroons.

l'Atelier des Chefs macaroons class

Pretty much mastered, I’d say?

This morning, I had to get up at 7:15 (it was a SATURDAY for goodness sake!) to get to their kitchen in St. Paul’s in time. I Arrived wayyy to early (as always…) and had time to browse their extensive selection of cooking and baking utensils. I finally found a dough scraper and some reusable baking paper. Yay! :)

The class itself was really good. Our chef, Daniel, was very relaxed (we wore matching shoes!) and knew to handle the 12 attending women perfectly well. I met two food blogger: Melanie (she blogged about the class here, check out her fab photos!) and Laura (her beautiful blog is “How To Cook Good Food“). It was the first time I ever met people who blog about food. I don’t know why but I usually only ever meet fashion or lifestyle bloggers, which is cool, too. Don’t get me wrong. But nothing is as great as food. FOOD! :D

We quickly got to the case: Baking macaroons. We prepared 4 batches and he showed us how to fold the ingredients (that’s nothing like mixing or stirring, you know!) and how to get the best consistency for your macaroons. You want the “dough” to be slightly shiny before you pipe it.

macaroon class at L'Atelier des Chefs London

Lots of tiny colourful things. Macaroons, I mean.

After preparing the dough, we went on to learning how to pipe macaroons. Big surprise for me here: Daniel didn’t use any of those fancy macaroon baking papers with printed circles. He showed us how to pipe them properly (straight from the top, eyes right above the piping bag, not too much pressure, no moving around with the tip of the bag) and only scolded me twice (out of two times… erm) because my macaroons were too small.

The macaroons had to dry out a bit and in the meantime, we prepared 4 fillings. This class was only using lactose free ingredients, which suited me perfectly well, even though I will try and use vegan milk in future. We’ll see how that’ll turn out!

macaroons L'Atelier des Chefs in London

The box I took home

Our fillings were chocolate & orange, green tea, ginger & cream cheese and peanut & caramel. I LOVED the peanut butter and caramel one, so yummy! Will post a recipe as soon as I can!

After a little bit more than 2 hours, the macaroons were out of the oven, the filling was piped in the middle and we each had a box full of yummy treats to take home. My box lasted until 20 minutes later in the churchyard of St. Paul’s. Erm. They were very delicious though!

Macaroons

Oh hello, Macaroon in St. Paul’s Churchyard!

I am very much looking forward to my second class in 2 weeks time (decorating cupcakes. Right up my alley!). Thank you, workmates and L’Atelier des Chefs!

Did you ever attend a cooking class? How was it? Did you learn something useful?

Enjoy, Becca x

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Probably the ugliest cookies I ever made. But boy, are they delicious!

I love cinnamon. And with autumn swiftly approaching it’s the perfect excuse for me to put in in literally everything. In my morning mocha – check! Stirred in my porridge – check! Sprinkled over my mid-day apple – check! in almost all of my cookies – hell yeah. I’d even put it on meat if I’d eat any.

These Cinnamon Roll Cookies are really easy to make, they just take a little bit longer than normal cookies because you’ll have to cool them twice. They’ll fall apart otherwise and nobody wants to end up with even uglier Cinnamon Roll Cookies… ;)

cinnamon roll cookies

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
makes 20-25

For the cookie dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsb cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsb baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

For the dough of the Cinnamon Roll Cookies, mix the butter, sugar and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Then, add the egg yolk, vanilla bean paste, oil and agave syrup. Beat until well combined.
In a second bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Then, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine them until you get a crumbly dough. You might want to use your hands at this point because the cinnamon roll cookie dough gets really crumbly otherwise.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
For the filling, combine the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar with a whisk until everything is well mixed.

Now, remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out between two parchment papers (or baking papers or whatever non-stick paper you have around) until you get a rectangly of about 0.5cm thickness.
Spread the filling onto the dough and roll it up from the long end and wrap it in plastic wrap once again. Place the cinnamon roll in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven for 175°C (350°F) and cut the roll into 0.5cm thick slices. Place the slices on a baking tray and bake the Cinnamon Roll Cookies for 10 minutes.
In the meanwhile, prepare the glazing: Mix the powdered sugar with enough milk to get a drizzly consistency.

After baking, let the Cookies cool completely before you drizzle them with the glazing.
And, roughly 1.5 hours later, you’re done!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies detail

Enjoy your Cinnamon Roll Cookies, they taste even better the next day if you leave them in an airtight container overnight.

Enjoy, Becca x

Easy Pretzels

Easy to make and so delicious with some cream cheese!

I love pretzels. Where I grew up, we had the most amazing pretzels at the local bakery and I had one almost every day. This also explains my disbelief when I found out that there are almost no real pretzels anywhere else. I mean, come on!! Those soft “pretzels”, drenched in butter and sugar?! Not the real shit. Sorry.

easy pretzel

I baked pretzels before but never really made the effort to actually soak them in some kind of lye (well… more like water and bicarbonate of soda as I didn’t find any decent lye over here), this time though, I was invited and had a few hours to spare so I put the apron on and went for it. I found a recipe by Paul Hollywood in my cupboard but thought there was way too much going on, ingredient-wise. So I altered it a bit and came up with this pretzel recipe. Easy pretzels to the win!

The good thing is: It’s very likely that you’ll have all the ingredients in your cupboard anyway. Happy days :)

easy pretzels recipe

Easy Pretzels
makes 12-15 small ones

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt (plus more to decorate)
  • 1 pack (7g) dried yeast
  • 40g unsalted butter (I used vegan butter)
  • 280ml milk (again, I used vegan milk)
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 4l water, cooking
  • 12g bicarbonate of soda

First, dissolve the agave syrup in the milk by stirring.
Mix the flour, salt, yeast (don’t let it touch the salt until you start mixing!), butter and milk together to get a non sticky, almost silky dough. Keep kneading for another 10 minutes until your dough is slightly shiny.
Put the dough back into the bowl and cover the bowl with cling film. Leave it to prove for 45 minutes (or until doubled in size).

Put the 4l of water in a large pan. Bring to the boil, THEN add the bicarbonate of soda.
Preheat your oven to 200°C and get your dough.
Divide it into 12-15 equally sized pieces and roll them into little strings, the middle should be slightly thicker than the ends. Now, form those strings into pretzels (or any other shape you like).
As soon as the water is boiling properly (it’ll take quite a while), drop each pretzel in there and let it cook for 5 seconds. Remove it and line up the pretzels on a baking sheet. As long as there are still wet, sprinkle some rock salt over them and slash the thick middle part of your easy pretzels.
Once all pretzels have been cooked, put the in the oven and let them bake for around 20-25 minutes.

And that’s it. It might take a while but you’ll end up with prefect little savoury pretzels that are perfect with some cream cheese and chives or anything else really.

Enjoy!
Becca x